An incredible game that looks like a 1930s cartoon is getting its own animated Netflix show, and it’s easy to understand why when you see it in action

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  • One of the most unique-looking games in years, “Cuphead,” is getting its own Netflix show.
  • The game is a stunner, featuring artwork pulled straight out of a 1930s-era cartoon. That’s due to it being hand-drawn across several years by a small crew.
  • The new show is also being hand-drawn, albeit not on paper, by Netflix’s animation team. “We are not going to be animating this [ourselves] because it would never be finished,” one of the game’s developers, Chad Moldenhauer, told IGN.
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Few video games are as gorgeous as “Cuphead,” the Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch game.

That winking, sinister-looking cigar you see above is one of the game’s many bosses. And that frustrated-looking guy with a cup for a head? That’s actually not the eponymous “Cuphead,” it’s his trusty partner “Mugman.”

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“Cuphead” is a hand-drawn game, as evidenced by these hand-drawn sketches of one of its main characters.
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The game is so gorgeous because it’s hand-drawn – something few games pull off. And no game pulls off the look as well as “Cuphead.”

Is it any surprise, then, that Netflix is turning the game into its own cartoon? No, no it is not.

Little is known about the show so far, but it would be fair to guess it’ll be somewhat similar to the game it’s based on. So, what’s the game about? What do you do in “Cuphead”? Let’s dive in.


First things first: What you don’t do in “Cuphead” is deal with the devil. Don’t! Seriously. He’s The Devil!

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More seriously, “Cuphead” is a 2D side-scroller — remember “Super Mario Bros.”? That’s a 2D side-scroller. “Cuphead” is reminiscent of games from the Super Nintendo era (early-to-mid-’90s) in terms of how it plays.

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Rather than jumping on the heads of your foes (a la “Super Mario Bros.”), Cuphead and his compadre Mugman have handguns. I mean that literally — their hands shoot bullets.

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In many ways, “Cuphead” is a mash-up of classic games like “Super Mario Bros.” and “Contra,” with a large pinch of “Steamboat Willie”-era Disney animation thrown in.

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When either of the game’s playable characters dies, their ghost floats to the top of the screen. In this case, Cuphead has just been defeated and Mugman is looking <em>stomping mad</em> about it.

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Players quick on the jump can save their fallen partner by leaping into the air and pressing a button while floating over the ghost.
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Since “Cuphead” has been in development for many years, it’s changed a lot over time. It used to be a game solely made up of boss fights — you might’ve noticed that all of the images here feature a boss.

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All gameplay stuff aside, the most incredible thing about “Cuphead” is just looking at it. The game’s main characters and enemies all look great, but the backgrounds are just outrageous.

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Or this one, that looks like it was ripped directly from a classic Looney Tunes cartoon.

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Beyond just platforming, there are levels where Cuphead takes to a prop plane and flies around while shooting down enemies. If you ever played games like “Super R-Type” on the SNES, you’ll be familiar with this style of “bullet hell” shooter.

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Rather than platforming, you’ll navigate these levels by avoiding obstacles in mid-air — all while shooting tons of enemies.

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Despite the cutesy look and beautiful artwork, “Cuphead” is an outrageously difficult game. Expect a serious challenge if you choose to take it on — it’s available on Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch.

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But to truly appreciate “Cuphead,” you should see it in action — check out the game’s 2017 launch trailer right here: